Consumers warned over identity theftSurvey reveals many careless with personal details

29 January 2007

People are putting themselves at risk of identity theft by not protecting their personal details, a watchdog warned today.

Around 20 per cent of survey respondents had been victims of identity crime, according to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

One third of the 1,223 respondents threw away bank statements, receipts and other personal documents without first shredding or destroying them.

This rose to 60 per cent among 16 to 25-year-olds - the age group that is least protective of personal details.

Identity theft

A quarter of all respondents failed to routinely check bank statements for unfamiliar transactions.

And nearly half used the same Pin and passwords across different accounts.

Identity theft is when fraudsters steal people's names and other information such as address, date of birth and bank account details.

Many consumers fail to adequately protect their personal details when using the internet, the ICO warns.

Online security

Its poll found 35 per cent of respondents had made online debit or credit card transactions without checking the security of the site.

ICO Deputy Commissioner David Smith said: ‘We are living in an age where protecting your personal information has never been so important.

‘Almost every day we give out our personal details which can leave us open to identity theft, unwanted marketing and a loss of privacy.’

Eight out of 10 respondents had never requested a copy of their credit reference file, which the ICO says is a quick and easy way to track identity theft.

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